Archive for Egyptian Seafaring

Egypt and the Sea in Antiquity


By Harry Bourne



A long history lies behind attributing the sources of Pre-Dynastic Egypt of Before Common Era (= BCE [= as opposed to CE/AD]) to beyond what Egypt called the Wdj-wr (= Great Green = [all?] seas adjacent to Egypt?). A candidate is the Far East. This mainly means what goes under the several labels of Island Southeast Asia (= ISEA), Maritime Southeast Asia, Insular Southeast Asia, Nusantara (=Islands), Austronesia, the better known “Indonesia”, Indo/Malaysia etc. The principal island-groups are the Philippines, Island Malaysia plus Indonesia.

These islands have a lengthy maritime history that mainly relates to speakers of what are called the Austronesian languages. They are a major ancestral strand of the Polynesians of the west Pacific, some of the earliest migrants to Australia, of the present-day Indo/Malays, the Malagasy of Madagascar, etc. James Hornell (Indonesian Culture in East Africa [Man 1928]) ties this to the Tyvans (= Islanders) seen as Pre-Tamils in south India by Tamil tradition. Robert Dick-Read (The Phantom Voyagers 2005) seeks ISEA influences even further west across the Indian Ocean.

Further is that many online writers have it the Tamil origin-myth has it that Hinduism originates in the parts of Mainland and Island Southeast Asia. Elsewhere online, it is stated ISEA is in the middle of the temple-building cultures outside Europe. The earliest structures may reflect the form of local mountains but arguments for Proto-Hinduism spreading to India plus Egypt may reinforce the general argument. In this light would lions in the role of protecting religious sites on the Indonesian sites in Sumatra and Bali and as the Great Sphinx at Giza (Egypt).

Also ISEA as the Ta-Neter/Punt that the ancient Egyptians to be both the homeland of their gods plus ancestors. Here too would belong that the islands of ISEA on the basis of the Egyptian story of “The Shipwrecked Sailor” placing the land of Punt on an island.

On the other hand, contributors to “Tribute to Hinduism” (= TTH online) hark to India for the origin of Pre-Dynastic Egypt. More specifically, this has prompted looking to western parts “Greater” India (= Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka & Bangladesh) as the ancient Meluhha. This approximates with what archaeologists describe as the Harappan or Indus Culture.

What for such earlier Greeks as Herodotus (ca. 450 Before Common Era [= BCE]) was the Erythrean Sea is now called the Persian Gulf (= Arabian Gulf on Arab maps). At its head is what has been called Sumeria, south Mesopotamia, south Babylonia, Iraq Arabi, South Iraq, etc, and at its southern was what was called Magan ( now mainly Oman?). Geoffrey Possuel (The Indus Civilisation 2002) showed plentiful Harappan pottery at Ras al-Junayz (Oman). Other scholars have described Harappan seals in Sumeria, Dilmun/Tilmun (= modern Bahrain), Magan/Oman. Possuel (Expedition article online) cites texts noting Harappan villages with granaries in Meluhha, the personal seal of a translator of Meluhhan texts, the Indus Valley source of the carnelian beads of Queen Puabi’s necklace found at Ur (all found in Sumeria).

Even the Semitic neighbours appear to have come under this Harappan influence. Thus contributors to TTH already noted state the Asuras led to the name of the Assyrians, Cholas became Chaldeans, Panis became Puni/Poeni (= Phoenicians), etc. There are also Tamil words in Hebrew, thus Tamil tokei as Heb. tukhi (= parrot or peacock); Tamil ibhi as Heb. habbim (= ivory); Tamil kopi as Heb. koph (= apes); Tamil almug as Heb. almuggim (= sandalwood?), etc.

Indians among ancestral groups from which the emerged the Malagasy of Madagascar may be a surprise for both Madagascar plus east Arica from South Africa/Mozambique in the south  to Egypt in the north (see also the sources cited in Ancient India, West Africa & the Sea). Lions protecting of holy places in India are shown in the Wikipedia entry on Asian lions and was seen above in Egypt. This is but one of the many traits held to be shared by India and Egypt according to TTH. Another would be the Hindu shikara compared with the Stepped Pyramids of Egypt.

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